Since the last time I wrote, I’ve mainly been focusing on play testing and refining. My goal for the last few weeks has been to get the game to a state where I can play it through from start to finish, and I think I may have reached that goal.
Test and Refine
The majority of my time these past few weeks was spent on simply playing through the game on stream and taking notes. After completing each playthrough I’d fix any bugs I found and tweak the game balance as I went. I played through the entire game to completion around five times, and died more than a few times too. I was finding fewer bugs with each playthrough, and towards the end I felt I’d reached a good place in terms of difficulty.
I think I could still refine the gameplay further on my own, but not by much. The best way to take it further from where it is now will be to actually put the game in front of other people. Arguably I should have done this sooner, but it’s never too late.
While I was refining the game as whole, I was refining the boss too of course. It feels well balanced at this point, but I’m not completely happy with it. The entire boss is basically just a large chaintank. It has a lot more HP and more guns than a standard chaintank, but other than that it behaves almost exactly the same.
It does have four turrets on each segment and a lot more range than a normal enemy, so the strategy for beating it is quite a bit different. Even still, it’s not a lot of fun to fight right now – the fight is over in a minute or less. I suppose for a game you can complete in 20 minutes or less that isn’t terrible, but it still doesn’t feel as fun as it should.
I want to spend some time thinking about how it could be improved, but I also want to finish this game. I’ve been working on the game for many months now, and at some point I have to draw a line. The boss in it’s current state isn’t great; it’s too short, and it seems to rely just a little bit too heavily on how much scrap you’ve accumulated throughout the game. But you know what? It’s not awful, and I think I can definitely ship with it.
Lets Get Real For a Sec…
I started writing this entry a few weeks ago, but didn’t have the time to finish it until today. Since then I’ve actually had people play the game for the first time. Not just close friends, but actual random people. As a result of that, things have changed just a little bit.
Now don’t worry, this isn’t going to become another Alpha Strike, I’m still making this game. My plans are just changing a little bit is all. I still wanted to put out this post to log my progress as of roughly two weeks ago as I think getting the game playable from start to finish is a big milestone. I’ll be writing another post soon on my first playtesting experience, so be sure to check back in a few days.